Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Archbishop Morse to Retire: Virtue

A bit late on the pickup here, despite being tipped off yesterday by reader Clifford Bronson that David Virtue had reported the following:

"Archbishop Robert Sherwood Morse has made it known that he intends to step down as Archbishop of the Anglican Province of Christ the King on July 1, 2007. There will be a meeting of the APCK House of Bishops in late June to choose his successor. His retirement will complete thirty years of service as the head of the APCK. Back in the late 1970s, Morse, then an Episcopal priest, predicted that the Episcopal Church would descend into apostasy as a result of the 1979 Prayer Book and the ordination of women. He was one of the first to separate and create a Province for orthodox Anglo Catholic parishes as a bulwark for orthodoxy. The history of TEC since 1979 has confirmed the archbishop's worst fears. The leading candidates to succeed him are the Rt. Rev. Rocco Florenza (DOES) and the Rt. Rev. James Provence (DOWS). The Anglican Province of Christ the King currently has 57 parishes and missions across the United States. The archbishop had a heart attack recently that has convinced him it is time to step back."

I assume that the news about the retirement is true, although I just checked the APCK website and found no reference to it on their news link. But I wonder where the bit comes from about the leading candidates being Bishops Florenza and Provence.

I am also curious about what all this may mean for the prospects of the APCK moving toward union with the Anglican Catholic Church. It has been my understanding, and I may be completely wrong here, that Archbishop Morse has been a fierce opponent of union with the ACC or any other continuing jurisdiction.

As our own Fr Hart is on the road at the moment and likely to be out of contact, can someone else shed some light on this report?


ACC Member said...

We all need to continue to pray for unity among the APCK, ACC, and UECNA. It would be a wonderful event for these churches to unite, as they all come from the same consecrations in Denver. We all need to pray for Archbishop Morse for his health issues and that he have a blessed retirement. Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

MichaelD said...

This news is to be expected, but will no doubt elicit sadness on the part of those who have benefited from his dynamic ministry over the years. Among his many achievements, the theological school is truly the jewel in his crown. May God grant him many happy and health years.

poetreader said...

Brian, you missed ACA/TAC. We also have the same origins. One of the dreadful aspects of Continuing Church history is that the original bishops found themselves unwilling to stay together in one body, for whatever reason. It's rather late in the day to argue the why, but of extreme importance to figure out, prayerfully, how to fix the mess we;ve made of what has been entrusted to us.

The 'originals', including ++Morse, have rendered a great service to Christ's Church, and, in spite of their mistakes, deserve hearty thanks and all the prayers we can offer. Yes, let's pray.


Abu Daoud said...

As an anglo-catholic (in the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East) I will pray for wisdom and discernment in this coming decision.

I will say that multiplying denominations (as anglo-catholics have done) is a luxery one can afford only in the West where there are a great number of Christians.

In other words, this fragmented church provides nothing of substance (as far as i can see) in terms of the church's mission to Islam.

Are there any of these continuing churches in the Middle East or North Africa? One? Even one in a region of 400 million+ people? Are these 6+ continuing churches supporting any full-time missionaries to the ME/NA?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where Virtue got this; no such announcement has been made to the clergy or laity of the APCK. As I remarked to my bishop yesterday, David Virtue jumps the gun more often than an 18-year-old on his wedding night.

Anything the man says is to be taken magno cum grano salis, until corroborated!

Continuing Home said...

From some backchannel discussion I learned that David Virtue apparently did not check with ++Morse before publishing this, and that at least one of the "leading candidates" does not know why he was named as such (my source also noted that the reporter is apparently not familiar with how things are done in the APCK).

++Morse has had health issues, he has called a meeting of the bishops in late June, and there will no doubt be discussion of the future of the APCK, but beyond that this report appears to be speculation.

Albion Land said...

Abu Daoud,


Point well taken. As far as I know, the answer to your question is "no."

However, as you know, I hope to be able to report within the next few months that there is one in Cyprus

Anonymous said...

Other than bishops either not getting along or jockying for position, why in heaven's name aren't all the continuing jurisdictions united in one body, or at least some kind of federation? Why these splinter groups?

Anonymous said...

When you talk of 'splinter groups', what year of splintering are you speaking of? In the current crisis, individuals and parishes seem to be fleeing in countless directions, forming new groups, seeking connections outside the U.S., even though there are a several very well established continuing churches right here in our own country. Why? I believe that one reason is that the so-called 'orthodox' or 'traditional' parishes/individuals within PECUSA have become, in fact, way too liberal to be comfortable within the continuum. They have been under the 1979 prayer book since, well, 1979, and it has fatally changed the the Episcopal Church and it's parishioners. How many are willing to return to a conservative church worshiping with the 1928 prayer book (never mind how beautiful the service is)? How many will be comfortable with a very conservative, all male-clergy church? How many will accept a church which presents a parental role in the lives of its parishioners, advising us on what is right and wrong? A church which calls a sin a sin, and makes no apology if such should 'offend' someone's delicate ears?

It is folly to think that everyone who left the Episcopal church, in whatever year they left it, all believe and practice the faith in exactly the same way, ergo, there is no reason for them to be apart. I hope that in time the Continuing churches can come overcome their differences and come together as one, but it will be a long, long, long, time before the liberals (and they are all liberal compared w/the Continuum)coming out of PECUSA return to the fold of the faith once delivered.

poetreader said...

short answer: The Protestant Reformation.

In the 16th and 17th centuries there developed a bizarre and unchristian notion that it was OK for there to be various 'denominations' out of fellowship with one another, all claiming to be Christian, and all in basically the same geographical area. The wretched division of Protestants has long been obvious, but the same divisive spirit has infected the Eastern Orthodox, the more-or-less-orthodox Anglicans, and even 'traditionalist RCs.

Those holding to such separatist notions for anything less than the most drastic differences, whether sedevacantist RC, Anglo-Catholic, or whatever, without seriously and energetically seeking a solution, are, whether they like it or not, behaving in a thoroughly and typically Protestant fashion.

Wow, I sound a lot harsher than I intended to. Sorry, but I guess the seriousness of these divisions is great enough to get excited over.


poetreader said...

That was a response to the first 'anonymous" above. The second 'anonymous' posted while I was writing.

BTW, who are you guys? It's much easier to talk to people who identify themselves, at least somewhat.

To the second 'anonymous': If we of the Continuum can't solve our own petty and largely personal differences, we sound rather hollow criticizing 'them' of this most recent wave. The big old log in our eyes is quite big enough to require our whole attention at this point. I'm completely in agreement with your assessment of the current crop of "orthodox" Anglicans, but to be too loud in criticizing them without being profoundly upset about our own errors is nothing less than hypocritical.

OY! There I go again! But I can get passionate about this. A satisfied Christian is no Christian at all. I need to change. My 'jurisdiction' needs to change. We are very far from what we were intended to be.


Fr Matthew Kirby said...

To describe Abp Morse as a "fierce opponent" of union seems unfair to me. A former ACC Ordinary of mine (now dead) had discussions with Abp Morse on behalf of our Church and did not paint such an extreme picture. What he did indicate is that Abp Morse has had "issues" with us in the past and that there was prossibly fault on both sides. Abp Morse is not an opponent of communio in sacris between the ACC and APCK (which has existed de facto and, as far as I know, de jure for a long time), he just tends to be very quiet about who he is in communion with. As for "organic re-union", I have no information on whether or how much it has been discussed between the parties or what Abp Morse's view might be of this as an "end-goal".

ACC Member said...

I want to say upfront, that back in 1977, there were good and necessary reasons that casued faithful Anglicans to break with the Episcopal Church. If I were a leader in the church at that time, I hope I would have possessed the courage to do what the founders of the Continuing Anglican movement did.

That said, once there is a break with a church (no matter how good the reasons for that break), it becomes easier to make schism the next time, and the next....

I use the word "break" for the original break in 1977, because I believe it was the Episcopal Church who committed schism against the true historic, Anglican faith. But once that initial break was made, people found it easier to commit schism over feuds between bishops, etc., etc.

There is an old saying: "Where there are Baptists, there will soon be a schism." There are, I have read, over 500 different types of Baptists in the U.S., and more types being created almost daily.

Sadly, we Anglicans may soon have that said of us.

I also agree, we can't throw stones at the so-called Orthodox leaving TEC now. We are as fragmented as they are becoming.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Anonymous said...

As a conservative Episcopalian who is contemplating bailing out of TEC let me assure "Anonymous" #2 that there are still many of us who would be comfortable with '28 Prayer Book. Rite I from '79 is not that extremely different from the '28 and many TEC churches still regularly use Rite I. I appreciate the "orthodox" stance of the many Continuing Churches but it is difficult to think about joining one of them. They are dreadfully splintered and for no discernable reason. I saw Archbishop Camp of the Anglican Province of Christ the Good Shepherd post recently on Stand Firm. I had never heard of this particular church. But it had great websites so I checked it out. Archbishop Camp is also the Bishop Ordinary of Archdiocese of Christ the King, an archdiocese of the Good Shepherd Province. Much to my amazement I discovered that the Archdiocese appears to be almost nothing but a single church in Atlanta! No offense to Archbishop Camp but this is everything that is wrong with the continuing churches. There is NO reason why this "archdiocese" or even "province" can't be united with another continuing church. What is so distinctive about this church? You have a police officer moonlighting as an archbishop?! Honestly, if the majority of the continuing churches merged peacefully into a genuinely catholic orthodox alternative to TEC I would be there in a minute.